Erasmus University Rotterdam has replicated its Woudestein campus at a 1:1 scale in Minecraft, which is unique in the Netherlands! The first virtual building blocks of the campus were laid by a small team of enthusiastic students, and the project has grown ever since; it now encompasses all campus buildings, a secret underground labyrinth that players must find, a quest for the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the UN, and much more.
Missing the campus
The Minecraft project was initiated after the Covid-19 pandemic had brought the university to a physical standstill as a way to help students meet up beyond Zoom lessons. It became clear that students were beginning to feel lonely and were missing the social life of the university, which is precisely the aspect for which the physical campus normally provides a platform.
A campus is not just a place to study and work, it is also a place where you meet your friends, develop as a human being, hang out and dream about the opportunities that life has to offer you. It almost feels like a kind of village.
The feeling of actually walking around there
‘This feeling was more than evident from the host of emotional reactions from students and colleagues when they saw the virtual campus for the first time; they told us that by walking across the virtual campus, they experienced the feeling of actually being there again’, says Alexander Whitcomb, a team member of the project. ‘What is so unique, and what reinforces the feeling of “really” being there, is the fact that the campus was replicated at a 1:1 scale, so a walk from one end of the campus to the other with your Minecraft avatar takes exactly the same time as it would in real life’.
Introduction of new students
The Minecraft campus will be used for the induction of all new students during the renowned 2020 Eureka week, which will include virtual tours. In addition, the ErasmusX team is also exploring the game platform for educational and research objectives. Expansion plans are underway for Erasmus MC and Erasmus University College in the inner city.
You can experience the Minecraft campus in the video below.
If you would like to visit the virtual campus, go to: www.virtualerasmus.com